On the road – Part 1

“Let’s get a caravan and travel around Australia for 3 months with the kids”

It only took a few months searching Gumtree before we found little old ‘Sunny’ the caravan. Tye was away at work when I called him and told him I was going to look at a van. I dragged my dad along (as he has some trailer knowledge) and within an hour or so we were towing our newly purchased caravan back home. Two months later and here we are cruising (quite slowly) up the West Coast stopping at some beautiful little areas on our venture across to QLD. The week before we left we had her checked over by an auto electrician. A few thousand dollars later and she was road worthy with new tail lights and our car was fitted with electronic brakes and a few other necessities. Days before disembarking on our trip we were getting a bullbar fitted, spotlights, a CB radio and a new awning for the car. We certainly looked the part – except for really having any clue what we were doing. The good thing is, EVERYBODY you meet wants to talk to you so there’s little worries about getting stuck out here on your own.

We came up North last year so had some idea of the area but travelled a little further this time. Here is where we have been so far..

Perth to Kalbarri 568kms

9 hour drive with 8 stops (teething baby!)

Stayed: Anchorage caravan park / beautiful spot by the river $46 night

Sights: Rainbow Jungle bird park, Natures Window Walk, Timber playground in town, Chinamans Beach, Red Bluff Beach.

Kalbarri to Carnarvon 444kms

5 hour drive with 5 stops.

Stayed: Wintersun caravan park / super friendly $46 a night. We jumped on the $13 spuds night – you may remember from my stories we walked into a little band night with the oldies! Meal and show, value for money!

Sights: Stopped at an organic farm the day we left Carnarvon – the cheapest organics we’ve seen. We grabbed some tubs of frozen mango (700g for $8) and some delicious frozen choc coated banana, strawberry and mango ice creams. Stopped for photos with wildflowers on the side of the road on the drive out of carnarvon to Exmouth.

Carnarvon to Exmouth 364kms

4 hour drive with 2 stops.

Stayed: RAC Exmouth Resort – Pretty nice accommodation and site.

We had booked to swim with humpback whales but it was cancelled last minute due to big swell. Unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to get us out on the water while we were there which was a huge shame.

Sights: The Social Society – Delicious coffee and gluten free/ organic food. Froth – Microbrewery, yummy dinner and craft beer.

Tye took us on a *shortcut* to Sandy Bay, 3 hours later on 4WD track. Sandy Bay would have to be my favourite beach in Exmouth (that we have visited!) Can easily get to it via Yardie Creek Road (don’t take Tye’s shortcut ha!)

Shothole Canyon is a beautiful drive, only suitable for 4WD but definitely recommend, incredible views.

If you watched my little video on YouTube you would have seen the beached whale. I didn’t share it on Instagram as it was pretty disheartening. We drove down an unnamed road and I ran up the dunes to see what the beach looked like when I spotted the whale becoming beached. I ran back to the car and Tye called the national park rangers. By the time we got down to the whale another beach goer was also at the scene and has also called rangers. A few European tourists came down too and the 7 of us tried pushing the whale back to sea. Unfortunately the beautiful baby humpback was very determined to swim to the sand, which is when we saw the large tiger sharks swarming. Over an hour later, the rangers arrived and shared the saddening news that they would euthanize the animal as the chances of it swimming safely back past the reef is incredibly slim and apparently this sort of beaching occurs once or twice a year in the area. They said the mother was most likely attacked by orcas and the baby may also be injured or unwell. It was incredibly sad to leave behind the beautiful animal on the shore but we came back to the dunes later that night to reflect on the days events with the kids.

1 week fuel consumption 3343kms Cost $695

Exmouth to Tom Price 569kms

8.5 hour drive with 4 stops.

The Nanutarra- Wittenoom drive is absolutely beautiful, the landscape is unreal and is definitely my favourite stretch of road thus far.

Stayed: Tom Price Tourist Park $42 a night. Very basic accommodation and park.

Sights: There is a full size mining dump truck at the entrance of the town – if your boy (or girl) is truck crazy like ours, this was a bit of fun.

With only a day to explore Karijini we left fairly early in the morning. The drive to the national park is simply stunning and the landscape is so unique. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to get to Fortescue Falls which was our first stop at the park. There are lots of steps on your way down, we carried Olive and Archer in baby carriers and Iggy walked. The falls are divine and if you follow the little track through the bush (easy to do) you will find Fern Pool which is utterly magestic!

We then had a little packed lunch at a picnic table nearby, standard cheese and tomato sandwiches/crackers and tea.

We then went for a little drive as the kids fell asleep in the car, checked out the eco retreat then drove to Weano George. The kids woke up so we took them for a little walk down to the Gorge. It’s a steep decline down on semi-stable rocks and there are two small pools down the bottom but a little tricky to get to (with toddlers.) If you are on your own you can hike the Gorge around and get to more pools but it wasn’t possible for us.

We went back up the hill and jumped in the car and headed to our last stop Kalamina Gorge which was roughly a 30 minute drive. This was a sight for sore eyes, again a little tricky to get down so we carried Olive and Archer in the baby carriers but it was easy enough to carry them onto the rock face so we could sit by the gorge pool. Such a beautiful spot, have to be cautious with the little ones with some slippery rocks but it was the perfect place to finish our day. If we came when the weather was warmer we’d definitely pack a lunch and stay by the pool here swimming – recommend for kids!

Today we drove from Tom Price to Port Hedland which took 5 hours with 3 stops. Staying at Discovery Park $59 for the night. Will keep our stay brief here as we are heading to Eighty Mile Beach tomorrow on our way to Broome!

On the road – Part 1

Disneyland California

9cdb7608-29a3-4b9e-91ba-8a4e854b06ed

When we were invited on a trip of a lifetime to Disneyland California, we were pinching ourselves for weeks. Living in Australia, it’s one of those places you dream about visiting so we felt incredibly lucky to be heading there. Home to Mickey, Sleeping Beauty Castle and Splash Mountain, Disneyland proved to be SO much more than we were expecting. One of the first being there are actually TWO parks – the original Disneyland built 63 years ago but also California Adventure Park, which is home to all your favourite Disney and Pixar characters. We spent five days hopping around the two parks which is roughly how much time you need to get the full experience from both.

Breakfast with Minnie

The feeling you get walking into Disneyland is something you can’t put into words. There’s so much for your eyes to be drawn to – the vintage charm of Main Street U.S.A, the much loved characters stopping for cuddles and of course the sheer mass of rides. There are eight lands within Disneyland and California Adventure Park has seven including the brand new Pixar Pier. The lands have been so meticulously crafted that even when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s more!

Cars land

We thoroughly enjoyed testing out quite a few of the rides and I was pleasantly surprised at how many we could enjoy as a family (including Olive who stayed fast asleep in her baby Carrier the whole time!) These rides included:

It’s a small world, Peter Pan’s flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, King Arthur Carousel at Disneyland Park

And from California Adventure Park: Pixar Pal-A-Round Swinging, The little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, Heimlich Chew Chew train, Flik’s flyers.

Archer’s favourite: Maters Junkyard Jamboree

Tye’s favourite: Soarin’ Around the World

My favourite: Radiator Springs Racers

Indiana’s favourite: Meeting Anna and Elsa from Frozen

Meet with Anna and Elsa

We loved our stay at the Grand California Hotel and Spa which is located within Disneyland. The perks of being a guest at the hotel (other than it being absolutely stunning) is extra magic hour – where you can enter the park an hour before it opens to the public. If you are early risers like us, or have kids (what even is a sleep in?) then this is perfect! It means you can get to your favourite rides first up and if you visited the park in Summer like us, then you can enjoy it before it reaches peak temps! The other perks are that you can enter California Adventure Park from within the actual hotel. That’s right, you can skip the line outside and go through a casual bag/ticket check and be right inside the park within minutes. You can also enter Downtown Disney the same way through a different check point from within the hotel – this made it SO easy going to and from the parks when we needed to.

Candy shop, Main Street USA

The newest land that has recently opened is Pixar Pier at California Adventure Park which is where Pixar stories and characters come to life. The pier is made up of a whimsical waterfront boardwalk and has a number of attractions and food stalls. We had a beautiful lunch eating appetizers and mocktails at Lamplight Lounge that overlooks the huge Incredicoaster which Tye built up the courage to go on (I did not ha!) and he loved it! A huge highlight of our time at the Pier was the ‘Paint the night’ parade. This after-dark performance was filled with all our favourite characters including Cars, Princesses, Toy Story and the Incredibles. We sang, danced and smiled the evening away, it’s a parade not to be missed.

Newly opened Pixar Pier
D9ED892F-2C38-484A-B37C-959D75CDDFA1
Pixar Pier at night

Breakfast in the park with Minnie and friends is another must-do, it’s the best way to see and cuddle characters like Goofy, Pluto, Pooh Bear, Eeyore, Chip n Dale and of course Minnie. It was a special morning for the kids having the characters come to see them while they ate their breakfast and you couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces. Another great opportunity to see the characters up close is the Character Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe (within Grand Californian Hotel.)  Another unforgettable experience for the kids with music, dancing and cuddles from Mickey and pals.

On our last night we witnessed the “together forever” firework display and it was the perfect way to end our time here.  It was utterly magical and a little emotional (I may have shed a tear!) If there is one thing you are going to plan to see on your visit, it’s this! Disneyland really is the happiest place on Earth and the memories made during our 5 days here will last a lifetime. There is so much on offer at Disneyland and we will definitely be back to relive these moments again one day, hopefully sooner rather than later! You can find more images and videos from our trip in my story highlights on my Instagram page.

Processed with VSCO with al2 preset
Together Forever Firework Spectacular
Sleeping Beauty Castle

 

Disneyland California

Green thumb. 

Growing up as a child I remember many a days strolling garden nurseries with my mum and then spending the weekends watching my dad and her pot up and plant new trees and flowers. I’m so grateful that I married a guy who also has the green thumb and gets excited about shopping for new plants and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty potting up. Over recent years we have been to many different nurseries hunting down particular plants so I thought I would jot down a few favourites for those who are in Perth, WA.



•The Gardeners Nursery 
(an old favourite)

899 Thomas road, Anketell WA 6167

•Wattleup Nursery (cactus, cactus, cactus!!)

24 Collins Road, Wattleup WA 6166

•Isabella’s Hydroponic Nursery and Garden Center.  (Snake plant heaven!)

66 Jambanis Rd, Wanneroo Perth W.A. 6065

Zanthorrea Nursery (natives and beautiful gifts)

155 Watsonia Road, Maida Vale WA 6057

Coast Road Palms (as pictured)

Lot 52, Bennett Springs Drive, Beechboro

Green thumb. 

Bigger adventures

We recently returned home from a ten day adventure in Bali. I didn’t want these photos to stay hiding in my phone so I thought I would share some extras from our first overseas family holiday. 

U B U D :

We stayed three nights in Ubud at the beautiful Puri Sunia resort which is approx 15 minutes outside of Ubud Centre.  The resort was opposite a working rice field and in the mornings we woke up to the sounds of roosters and birds alike. The resort grounds were absolutely beautiful and the private pool villa was something out of a magazine. We did most of our eating at the resort as we had complimentary breakfast and their extensive menu was available right up until 10pm. Most of our time in Ubud was spent exploring as there is so much to see and do in the area and we generally only spent time at the resort for meals and nap/night time.


Some attractions we visited in Ubud were:

Tegalalang rice field


Tenenugan Waterfall


Campuhan ridge walk

Luwak coffee plantation

Monkey forest

I highly recommend the markets in the Ubud town Centre. I picked up some of my best bargains there and found lots of beautiful fiber bags and hats at a lower price than anywhere else. 
After three nights in Ubud we then made our way to the Umalas just out of Seminyak. We stayed at the Umalas Retreat 11a which was a two bedroom villa with a beautiful pool. Most of our time in Seminyak was spent shopping, eating, walking and catching taxis. We did a day trip to Uluwatu also and went to the divine Sundays Beach Club. 

Bigger adventures

Little adventures.

If you are anything like me then you probably have a camera roll full to the brink of photos that will never get used or never get seen. Most of the time I take at least twenty shots of the same thing and always have the hardest time choosing what to post (because there will always be one or two that are basically the same but just that little bit different 🙈) So below are some photos from our weekend away that I wanted to share so they don’t stay hiding in my phone!

Tap the photo to see some of the places we visit and below I’ll share a few of our favourite spots down south.

Dunsborough-

Meelup and Castle Rock beach are our two favourites! You can find them both on Meelup Rd. They are sheltered and protected from the winds. They also both have some rocky areas which we personally love. We always find a quiet spot, pop up the umbrella and sit close to the rock pools where there are no waves crashing which always feels safer for the babes.

Lot 80 is a beautiful restaurant that you will also find on Meelup Rd. We have been several times now and absolutely love it. They do sharing style meals, a great range of drinks and have a big deck and grass area.

Clancy’s fish pub is also one of our favourite eateries. Not only is their food fabulous but they are set on beautiful grounds for some gorgeous photos.

Yallingup-

We frequently visit Canal Rocks which is on Canal Rocks Rd. Although it’s best known as a tourist attraction for the rocks themselves, we often wander down the beach and set up on the sand. On days when the winds are good, the water is crystal clear, calm and perfect for toddlers.

Smiths beach is also off Canal Rocks Rd, there you will find the Lamont’s restaurant and Deli which is amazing! The beach is popular amongst surfers but a beautiful spot and also meets up with the Rivermouth.

Wyadup Rd will take you to the well-known Injidup natural spa. It’s a tricky spot amongst the rocks where the waves crash through and create a spa effect. Not the best place to take small children but definitely worth checking out. Injidup beach is close by and a special place in our hearts as we had our first pregnancy photographs there. We also had our babymoon slash honeymoon at the Injidup Spa retreat and we got married at a property on Wyadup Rd. We adore that whole area for reasons above.

Little adventures.

Archer’s birth story

image

I always knew I wanted to have a home birth, probably because my mum had three of them so I thought it’d be easy.  I had always loved the idea of a natural, intervention/drug free birth.  Having the same midwife follow you through your journey and to be there for the birth was also appealing and the thought of a birth in the comfort of my own home was something I always wanted.  But by choice, my first baby was born in a hospital.  It was a natural and positive birth.  I spent most of my day in the bath at home before heading to the hospital at 3cm dilated, having the baby’s heartbeat monitored for two hours and being sent home.  Arriving back at the hospital two hours later at 8cm dilated then spending the next four hours having contractions before pushing our baby out on a birthing stool (husband passing out in the midst of it all).  I would say that despite doing it drug-free, it was an easy birth and I am grateful we had such a good hospital experience.  When we fell pregnant with our second, I felt confident enough to plan for a home birth .  After hearing only positive feedback, I applied for the Community Midwifery Program and I can say it was the best decision I ever made.  It was such a relaxing (yes, relaxing) and beautiful day and I couldn’t have hoped for a better birth experience.

So here’s how it went on the day.  Contractions started at 12.30am (with a little help from ‘us’ just a few hours earlier, hint hint, nudge nudge)!  We had only been asleep a few short hours when they began.  I rolled over to Tye with a huge smile on my face and said “We’re having a baby today!” I was so excited.  Our daughter Indiana stayed sleeping upstairs while we got the house in decent order and put down some old sheets, brought out the blow-up pool and I leaned upon the couch crunching as the contractions came on.  They came hard and strong and we were pretty certain things were moving quickly.  So a long shower was had followed by a long bath.  When I got out, I had a bloody show so I called the midwife at 6.30am to let her know what was happening.  My mum and dad arrived at 7am.  Dad took Indiana for the day and Mum stayed on for the birth.  My midwife Helen arrived at 8am and agreed it looked like things were happening fast so hubby started filling the pool while Helen organised the support midwife to arrive.  The pool was amazing, 37 degrees and so relaxing.  I have to recommend it to anyone looking at birthing options!  So by 9am, there I was relaxing in the pool between contractions, looking out my living room window at the beautiful view of our verandah and backyard. My mum was filling the pool with hot water and Tye kept me hydrated while Helen was checking the baby’s and my heartbeats.

 It hardly felt like I was about to push out a baby.  Although I could feel his little head moving further down, the water was relaxing and the urge to push was taking a while.  At 10am, Helen checked to see how dilated I was. At 9cm, I was reminded to keep breathing through the contractions until I felt the urge to push.  It was disappointing not to be ready yet but I knew I wasn’t putting myself in a physical position to make things go faster. I was lying with my bottom on the pool floor because it was so comfortable.  I was so comfy I even had an icy pole!

Shortly after though my contractions became stronger and I couldn’t control the death metal screaming coming from my lungs!  Mum sat behind me holding onto my icy pole while a contraction came along then handing it back to me once the contraction had passed.  Everything became more intense and both hubby and my mum were holding my hands as little ‘mr’ began his descent.  I started saying: “Oh yep, I remember this feeling.  I know what’s coming” as I could feel the pressure increasing.

Thinking back to Indiana’s birth, I remember vividly the intense pushing on the birthing stool and seeing the hair on her head when she was crowning.  After one big push, I can remember her head birthing and her body slipping out from under me and it all happened quite fast.  But this time was different.  When I thought I was ready to push this little guy out completely he had other ideas.  I pushed and pushed and screamed but only his head came out. “Is someone going to grab him?”  I asked. I began to fret.  “Where’s the rest of him? Can you just pull him out? I just want to push him out. I don’t want to wait for the next contraction”.  There he was, his head and neck just hanging out in the water, eyes open, looking up and around while the rest of his body and limbs were kicking inside me.   The midwives recommended I didn’t push unless I felt a contraction and that he was perfectly safe under the water.   So there we were, five people and a dangling head waiting for my next contraction.  I looked down and saw my baby’s eyes looking around from under the water and that’s when it got too much for Tye and he rolled over onto the couch about to pass out. Then:  “GO GO GO!” I screamed as the contraction took over.  And out came our baby!

Tye jumped off the couch to grab the video camera that had been recording the past fifteen minutes and carried it over to our little whimpering boy, all pink and wrinkly, to record his first moments in the world.

 “Well done, you did it” exclaimed Helen.  I did it.  At 12.51pm,  I pushed out our little (4kg) baby and here he was, in our arms, one day before his due date.  We sat in the pool while his umbilical cord finished pulsating.  Tye cut the cord while my mum recorded and I fed little Archer without any problems.  He lay in my arms while I birthed the placenta naturally (a whole different experience to having it pulled out of me after a hormone injection like Indiana’s birth).  The pool had been completely clean and clear of any blood and other matter until that placenta came out and then we were sitting in a pool of blood.  Thank goodness for Tye doing the cleaning up after!  I couldn’t believe that only an hour and a half later once the pool had emptied and there were only a few old sheets left out, the room didn’t even look like it had just been used as a birthing suite.  Dad brought Indiana back to meet her little brother and once my parents and the midwife had gone {around 4pm}  it was just Tye, Indiana, and myself watching our baby boy Archer in awe. The fact I had given birth to him only hours earlier felt totally surreal.  It was as if Archer had been with us for weeks already.  We spent 3 nights in hospital after Indiana’s birth so it was truly special to be in the comfort of our home while birthing Archer .  That night lying in bed together, all we felt was happiness and gratitude that our pregnancy journey had ended so wonderfully and our new journey with our son begun so naturally and positively.

Archer Gerritsen • 19/09/2015 • 12.51pm

 

Archer’s birth story